Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 7, pp 1359–1373 | Cite as

Eye development in southern calamary, Sepioteuthis australis, embryos and hatchlings

  • Anna BozzanoEmail author
  • Patricia M. Pankhurst
  • Natalie A. Moltschaniwskyj
  • Roger Villanueva
Original Paper


Eye development, optical properties and photomechanical responses were examined in embryos and hatchlings of the southern calamary, Sepioteuthis australis. This species occurs in shallow coastal waters in Australia and New Zealand, and the egg masses were collected in October and December 2004 from Great Oyster Bay, Tasmania. At the earliest developmental stage the eye of the squid was comprised of a hemispherical cup of undifferentiated neural retina, while presumptive iris cell layers and lentigenic precursor cells enclosed a posterior eye chamber. Differentiation of the proximal and distal processes was observed in correspondence with the cornea development and lens crystallization, and occurred before differentiation of the neural retina, which was complete prior to hatching. Longer photoreceptor distal processes were first observed just prior to hatching in the dorsal-posterior retina. After hatching, this difference was much more evident and higher photoreceptor density was found in the central retina. This indicates that the eye of S. australis at this age uses different retina areas for different visual tasks. Optical sensitivity and resolution suggest that juvenile S. australis are diurnal. This study also found functional photomechanical responses of visual screening pigment migration and pupil constriction in S. australis embryos, although complete functionality of the pupil at this stage was uncertain. However, the pupils of squid aged 2 days closed almost completely under bright conditions, showing that photomechanical responses were highly developed in the juvenile squid. These findings indicate that squid embryos are able to perceive visual stimulation, suggesting an early reliance on vision for survival after hatching.


Retina Neural Retina Central Retina Retinal Region Distal Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are deeply grateful to Sue Reilly for her technical histological support at James Cook University. Keith Harrison, Stephen Leporati and Gretta Pecl (Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute) kindly provided unpublished data on the size of Octopus pallidus hatchlings shown in Table 3. We are grateful to the reviewers and the editor for their helpful suggestions and comments on the manuscript. The work undertaken by AB at the University of Tasmania and James Cook University was supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Science (MECD). AB was also funded by the I3P framework of CSIC. Both sources of AB funds were co-financed by the European Social Foundation. RV was supported by the Spanish Researchers Mobility framework (MECD). PMP had a James Cook University Finfish Aquaculture and Emerging Species Research Advancement Program Grant. This work was supported by the University of Tasmania Merit Grants Scheme awarded to NAM. The experiments comply with the current laws of Australian Animal Welfare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Bozzano
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Patricia M. Pankhurst
    • 2
  • Natalie A. Moltschaniwskyj
    • 3
  • Roger Villanueva
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability, Australian Maritime CollegeUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia

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